In celebration of Ottolenghi’s Sweet—one of our favorite baking cookbooks of 2017, now available with thoroughly tested and updated recipes—we've partnered with Ten Speed Press to bring you this show-stopping spring galette.
While pie reigns supreme on many tables, I much prefer it’s cousin: the messier, more laid back galette. It’s got all pros of a pie—a flaky crust and a flavorful fruit filling—with far less precision required.
You can skip the fancy crimping and lattice techniques (or even the non-fancy ones). You don’t blind-bake or any of that business. Just roll out your dough, mound your filling on top, and fold it up. Of course, you can work on folding it prettily—but you don’t need to. The genius of a galette is that at its heart, it’s rustic. Leave the beauty pageant to the pies, and embrace galette’s inherent chill.
But just because it’s humble, doesn’t mean a galette can’t be a showstopper. Especially if you’re turning to a jewel-colored beauty perfect for spring baking, like this rhubarb and blueberry version from Sweet, James Beard award-winning author Yotam Ottolenghi’s most recent cookbook. Whenever I’ve needed a never-fail, make-everyone-want-more recipe, Ottolenghi’s savory recipes have always fit the bill for me. Considering that he started his career as a pastry chef, I shouldn’t be surprised that his baking book hits the same sweet spot.
Not only is the recipe easy to execute, but it has three small tweaks that elevate it above and beyond most classic rhubarb pies or tarts.
This recipe uses a cream cheese pastry crust instead of a traditional all-butter crust. Not only is it more flavorful than most crusts, it’s also a bit sturdier, which helps the dough hold up to the fruit while also making it easier to roll out and fold.
The Cookie Base
Cream cheese isn’t Ottolenghi’s only brilliant trick for solving soggy crusts. (Fruit is notorious for giving off a lot of liquid as it bakes.) Nope—you also sprinkle a layer of crushed Amaretti cookies onto the crust before topping it with the fruit filling. This creates an extra barrier that absorbs the liquid-y fruit while the galette bakes, keeping the bottom crust nice and crisp.
Rather than the traditional strawberry and rhubarb pairing, this filling combines rhubarb and blueberries. It’s a smart twist, since blueberries are sweet enough to balance the tartness of rhubarb, and they add a beautiful pop of color to the galette, bleeding blue into rhubarb’s pink.
Before baking, you’ll brush the crust with an egg wash (a single egg beaten with 2 teaspoons of water) and sprinkle it with raw sugar. This gives a beautiful sheen to the crust and a nice crunch when you bite into it.
A few extra tips, should you want to make this showstopper your spring go-to, too:
- Make sure your ingredients (especially the butter, heavy cream, cream cheese) are very cold before you start making the dough. The colder the ingredients, the more your lumps of butter will stay intact, resulting in a flakier and more delicate pastry.
- If your pastry dough starts to get soft and hard to fold, just pop it all in the freezer for a few minutes to chill it slightly.
- If you can’t find Amaretti cookies, you can substitute crumbled ladyfingers or ground almonds. I also tested it out with crushed biscotti, which worked nicely. (Bread crumbs could work in a pinch, but won’t add the same nice flavor.)
- The recipe calls for fresh blueberries, and while those are ideal, you can make frozen berries work if that’s all you have access too in your area. They’ll leak more liquid into the filling, so counteract this by doubling the amount of the crumbled cookie base.
- After rhubarb season has come and gone, you can apply the same technique with other seasonal fruits. Ottolenghi suggests pairing figs and raspberries, or going with thinly sliced peaches, apricots, or apples.
- Assembling a galette is easy as pie—nay, way easier than pie! When you fold and pleat the edges, don’t worry about making it pretty; focus instead on making the pleats tight so that the fruit filling won’t leak out.
Have I convinced you yet? Do you want to eat nothing but rhubarb and blueberry galettes for the foreseeable future? I recommend you do, and I also recommend topping a warm slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a spoonful of lightly sweetened whipped cream. Since rhubarb is here—fleetingly!—it’s time to make the most of it. You can thank me (and Ottolengh and Helen Goh!) later.
Co-written with Helen Goh, NYT best-seller Sweet is the first baking book from Yotam Ottolenghi. The cookbook features over 110 innovative recipes, many of which incorporate the Middle Eastern flavors (saffron, rose petal, pistachio) Ottolenghi’s savory recipes are celebrated for.